Volunteers prep meals for Wood County seniors

PARKERSBURG — A local hotel, its staff and a group of volunteers donated their time and collected donations so many area seniors could have a good Christmas holiday meal this week.

The Wood County Seniors Association partnered with the Comfort Suites Hotel in Mineral Wells to help sponsor the Senior Center’s annual Christmas luncheon. The hotel has set up a donation drive in its lobby and the corporate office is going to match their donations with a monetary donation.


Fishing for Hope

COMFORT INN & SUITES – SOUTHPORT, NC – In this month’s Choice OwnerElite™ Rewards Franchisee spotlight we’d like to recognize Keith Stephens, the owner of the Comfort Inn & Suites in Southport, North Carolina. Keith has created a culture that values partnering with the community to generously provide charity to those in need and he’s empowered his general manager, Melissa Fineman, to help build relationships that will last a lifetime.

For the third summer in a row, Keith, Melissa, and the Comfort Suites in Southport, North Carolina welcomed nearly twenty families and twenty boat captains to stay free of charge for a charity fishing event organized by the United Special Sportsmanship Alliance (USSA). USSA is an organization that works to provide unforgettable outdoor adventures for children and veterans with life-threatening illnesses and disabilities. Keith and his team worked with dozens of local volunteers to create a truly special day for these families, and the event was a resounding success!

Each family was paired with their own captain and set out to explore the beautiful waters off the coast of North Carolina. Melissa noted that “it is incredibly heartwarming to see the spirit of volunteerism and giving of the sponsors and donors” and also that “the big smiles from the kids looked as bright as the sun shining down on their boats!” The participants and their families had a wonderful day taking in the Carolina sun as they reeled in fish of all types and they couldn’t be more grateful for everyone who donated their time and resources to make this experience possible.

In Keith’s words, “The Choice franchisee family recognizes their obligation to give back to their local community and this [event] is one of many ways we try to live out that obligation.” Keith and Melissa, thank you for making a difference in the community and showing these families an incredible time! We look forward to hearing about next year’s trip!

3rd Annual United Special Sportsman Alliance Deep Sea Fishing Trip

August 13, 2018

Comfort Suites, Southport, NC.

Honored to have hosted our 3rd annual United Special Sportsman Alliance deep sea fishing trip. Dane Britt performed for the kids this year! 
Our Team already looks forward to hosting again next year!

Visit the Facebook page for more photos.

Local Law Enforcement, Hotels Increase Training on Human Trafficking

July 9, 2018

BARBOURSVILLE, WV (WOWK) – As the Huntington area continues to battle the drug epidemic, law enforcement is facing another issue that’s tied to it: human trafficking. Local police officers and hotel employees are now learning new ways to combat the issue. 

When the General Manager of the Hampton Inn in Barboursville, Randy Kveton,  learned about human trafficking going on in hotels across the country, he knew his staff and community needed their own training seminar on the issue.

The hotel staff reached out to the Huntington Police Department to learn more about the scope of the issue, and their fears were confirmed.  

“You kind of get that mindset of ‘it’s not happening where we are,’ so we wanted to reach out and find out if it was,” said Kveton. “And it’s a lot worse than what we think.”

In fact, areas where there’s a high rate of drug addiction can become hotbeds for human trafficking. 

“Some traffickers will use opioids or those addicted to opioids as a means of control, to keep them trapped in these situations of exploitation,” said Bill Woolf, Executive Director of Just Ask Prevention. “We’ve also seen other instances where adult parents have become addicted to opioids and, as a means to sustain their addiction, they sell their own children.”

In response, local law enforcement and employees from eight area hotels learned new training Monday on how to combat human trafficking.

Huntington Police Chief Hank Dial released the following statement on the training:

“Human trafficking is one of the most horrid crimes occurring in our country.  Being untrained on what to look for could lead to us being unwitting participants in this atrocity.  I encourage participation in this training in order for us all to be better able to protect the victims, our businesses and our community.”

Attendees learned new strategies on how to respond to human trafficking and what warning signs to look for. 

“We’re looking for high levels of foot traffic in and out of hotels and secrecy,” said Woolf. “We’re looking for individuals who may be controlled by another person or guest of the hotel.”

Human trafficking can often go unnoticed, or be mistaken for prostitution. According to Woolf, though, only 15 percent of people engaged in prostitution are actually consenting participants. The rest are victims of human trafficking. 

However, local hotels and law enforcement hope better education can save future victims. 

“You all have the opportunity to save someone’s life,” Woolf told the group. 

Barboursville Hampton Inn Gets Grant for Back-to-School Project

BARBOURSVILLE — The Hampton Inn-Barboursville received a grant from Hilton Corporate to provide backpacks and school supplies for local students this year.

The Travel with Purpose Action Grant through Hilton was open to all Hilton properties to improve the communities where people live, work and travel. Twenty-four properties were awarded grants from all over the world, which included the Barboursville Hampton as the only selection in West Virginia. Only 15 properties in the United States were selected.

The grant for $1,000 was used to purchase backpacks and school supplies for students in the local community. Additional funds were contributed by Toy Train of West Virginia and Huntington Councilman Mike Shockley. The Cabell-Huntington CVB, the Barboursville CVB and the Pullman Plaza Hotel also provided supplies to be included in the backpacks.

“We are honored to receive one of these limited grants from Hilton. The need in our community is so great, and we hope that these supplies can give all students an opportunity to succeed in the coming school year and beyond,” said Cara Hedrick, director of sales.

Backpacks were distributed to students from the A.D. Lewis Community Center and Barboursville Elementary School. In addition to the backpacks, the hotel was able to provide five teachers with a back-to-school supply box for their personal classrooms, which included tissues, wipes, pencils, markers, glue sticks and other essential items.

Geneva Hotels LLC Acquires Ramada Plaza Lakefront Resort Geneva, New York

For Immediate Release – October 27, 2017

Strasburg, VA and Geneva, NY (October 27, 2017) –Geneva Hotels LLC has acquired the beautiful Ramada Plaza Geneva Lakefront Resort on Seneca Lake.  With thanks to Chris Iverson, the original developer, the new owner looks forward to building on the stellar reputation enjoyed by Chris and his team at this hotel over the last 20 years.

Geneva Hotels LLC acquired the hotel on October 20, 2017, and quickly engaged Guests, Inc., a well-known and successful hotel management company, to manage the hotel.

“Geneva Hotels LLC has a long-standing reputation of success,” says Kevin T. Carter, President and Director of Operations for Guests, Inc. “Our organizations believe strongly in supporting our people and investing in the communities where our hotels reside. We are delighted to be a part of the Geneva community and the next chapter in the life of this very special hotel property.”

The hotel located in upstate New York, combines the beauty of the Finger Lakes Region with exceptional service and value.

The award-winning Ramada Plaza is located on the shores of Seneca Lake and provides guests with stunning views, six stories of beautifully appointed guest rooms and Jacuzzi suites, and 4,000 sq. ft. of versatile event space. The property is home to The Pier House, one of the most popular lakefront restaurants in Geneva, featuring year-round live entertainment and an extensive local wine list.

“Guests, Inc. was founded on the phrase “We Love Guests” and hosting happy guests in our hotels remains our passion,” adds Keith Stephens, Chairman of the Board of Guests, Inc. “For 30 years, we have cultivated a philosophy for providing genuine hospitality.  This devotion to superior and responsive service increases bottom line profitability for our owners, expands investment into the properties, enhances quality and creates happy guests.”

“We are delighted to partner with Geneva Hotels LLC, a company that shares our commitment to developing exceptional leaders and guest experiences,” says Kevin T. Carter. With its rolling hills, sparkling fresh water lakes and year-round wineries, Geneva is a beautiful and vibrant destination. “We look forward to being part of the Finger Lakes experience and the Geneva community with this very special hotel property.”

Geneva Hotels LLC is an affiliate of KPG Hotels based out of New Jersey.  It is led by Raj Parikh and Mike Khatiwala who combined have over 45 years of experience, owned and/or operated over 50 hotels and currently have a portfolio of over 30 hotels across the East Coast of the United States.

GUESTS, INC. manages 21 hotels in Virginia, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, and New York.

Guests Inc Receives Growth & Franchise Recognition

May 2015

Guests, Inc., based in Strasburg, Virginia enjoyed a strong year in 2014 in both growth and franchise recognition. The hospitality company was honored in conjunction with individual hotel ownership partners for renovations for both IHG and La Quinta brands.

The Holiday Inn Express-Southpoint located in Fredericksburg, VA received the IHG® (Inter/continental Hotels Group) 2014 Renovation Award for its successful completion of major modernization and renovation programs. The hotel was recognized during the IHG Americas Investors & Leadership Conference in Las Vegas, Nevada. The Holiday Inn Express Fredericksburg-Southpoint was one of 56 hotels to receive this award from an IHG portfolio of more than 4,700 hotels.

The La Quinta Inn & Suites Lynchburg at Liberty University, in Lynchburg, VA, was the recipient of the La Quinta Inn & Suites 2014 Award for Best Renovation. This award recognizes the hotel that has undergone the most compelling and complete renovation while also incorporating the best in creativity and comfort. Qualification for the award requires that renovations must include the entire hotel from the exterior to all common areas and guestrooms.

Hotel acquisitions in 2014 included a management contract for the full service Holiday Inn Richmond, VA at I-64 West End and the purchase of three Hampton Inn’s in West Virginia bringing our West Virginia presence to four hotels. Additional opportunities in 2014 included several consultation projects for other hospitality companies.

“As a significant part of our overall property performance analysis,” says Keith Stephens, CEO and owner of Guests, Inc. and managing partner for several of the owned properties, “we are continually analyzing the best franchise options and renovation upgrades for the optimal success for our hotels in the markets in which they compete.”

With growth continuing in 2015, the beautiful historic Mimslyn Inn, located in Luray, VA, and a managed property in the Guests, Inc. portfolio has recently acquired four cottages located adjacent to the Inn in order to provide Shenandoah Valley visitors with the option of lodging in the fully restored 1930’s inn or enjoying the intimate and private cottage experience.

Stephens is a graduate of the Virginia Tech Hospitality program in Blacksburg, VA, and an owner/operator for close to thirty years. The Guests, Inc. portfolio currently includes 16 hotels in the five state region of Virginia, West Virginia, North Carolina, Pennsylvania and Maryland. The management company provides hands on management of both select service and full service lodging properties. Management company focuses include cost controls, a comprehensive marketing program for each property, quality guest services, reputation and social media management, accounting services, training and development and corporate level support and oversight of maintenance and capital improvements.